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Ear to the Ground

Is This Really a Good Time for the U.S. to Send Ground Troops to Ukraine?

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Posted on Sep 3, 2014

  Ukrainian soldiers train with Partnership for Peace nations during exercise Rapid Trident in 2011. U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens

Next week, the United States will send 200 troops to Ukraine to participate in training exercises. Yes, the same Ukraine engaged in civil war.

Reportedly an annual affair, Rapid Trident comes as the United States and Russia exchange barbs and sanctions over Ukraine. President Barack Obama is particularly upset over NATO photos that show Russian soldiers crossing into Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin killed time on a flight to Mongolia by jotting down a seven-point peace plan. The first steps would require Ukrainian rebels to stop their push for territory, followed by government forces pulling back on artillery and airstrikes.

The deal was announced after a phone call between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Putin, although both sides have since tempered their enthusiasm.

Obama, who is scheduled to meet with NATO leaders, said of the “so-called announced cease-fires” that “if in fact Russia is prepared to stop financing, arming, training, in many cases joining with Russian troops activities in Ukraine and is serious about a political settlement, that is something we all hope for.”

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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